Monday, May 24, 2021

Exodus: A new translation with commentary

Exodus: A new translation with commentary
by William Whitt
Publication date 2021-05-22
This translation of Exodus follows a similar approach to my translations of Deuteronomy, Genesis and Samuel. In this, as in my other translations, my priority was always to express the ideas in the text in the most natural way in English, and at the same time to capture the energy and rhythm of the original Hebrew. In this book, my translation style has evolved further towards a true "functionally equivalent" approach. As a result, compared with my other translations, this translation is "freer" and departs further and more frequently from the literal meaning of the text.

One unique aspect of all my translations is that they jettison the traditional chapter divisions and instead organize the material according to the Masoretic parashot. Organizing the text in this way, I believe, gets us closer to the ancient writers, and yields numerous insights into their composition approach.

The commentary accompanying the translation focuses primarily on issues of translation and language. After the commentary I provide an essay that summarizes my views on the composition history of Exodus and that assigns each of the parashot to one of the four major compositional stages that I identify, which span a period of approximately 250 years, from the early sixth century to the mid fourth century BCE.

In my treatment of the composition history, I make a number of unusual proposals. Specifically, I argue that (1) the earliest version of Exodus was composed in the first decades of the sixth century as part of the original composition of the "Deuteronomistic History" (Exodus plus Numbers though Kings in my proposal), and that (2) the Yahwistic priesthoods in Yehud and Samaria were jointly responsible for all other additions and edits made to the book between the late sixth century and the mid fourth century.

Links to other translations (all of which are open access) can be found at  <> and at <>.


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